Kitchener Chosen Over Rayport To Fill Vacant Planning Board Seat

JohnCarl McGrady •

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Hillary Hedges Rayport and John Kitchener.

John Kitchener was appointed to the Planning Board on Wednesday to fill the seat vacated by John Trudel, who resigned from the board in April. Kitchener, a Planning Board alternate and a former member of the Short Term Rental Work Group, was selected over vocal Planning Board critic and former Nantucket Historical Commission chair Hillary Hedges Rayport.

Kitchener received the unanimous support of the Planning Board. The Select Board was split 3-2 in his favor, with Matt Fee and Malcolm MacNab supporting Rayport.

With Trudel's resignation coming after the candidate nomination deadline for the May 21st annual town election and with two years left on his term, his departure set up the unique process to have a joint vote of the two boards to appoint a successor to complete one year of his term that will run up to the 2025 annual town meeting.

Kitchener is a former supply chain executive who has served as a member of the executive board of the Monomoy Civic Association. In his remarks to the Select Board on Wednesday, he emphasized his experience on the Planning Board and Short Term Rental Work Group and his commitment to the role. Kitchener has remained involved with short-term rental issues since the work group was disbanded and highlighted his dedication and ability to see projects through to completion.

“I’m not someone who’s here today, gone tomorrow,” he said. “If I say I’m going to do something, I do it.”

Rayport has drawn controversy in the past for her criticism of the Planning Board and a home rule petition to add elected seats to the Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission. Rayport was also the subject of dispute when local politician Linda Williams, who has served on various commissions including the Historic District Commission and Conservation Commission, challenged her voting status, stating Boston, rather than Nantucket, was her primary residence.

Kitchener was widely seen as the favorite for the position given Rayport’s past efforts to challenge the status quo on the Planning Board, as well as her previous ouster from the Nantucket Historical Commission in a controversial Select Board vote. Rayport positioned her willingness to take contentious stances as a strength.

“Sometimes when I do challenge the status quo or do challenge powerful people, it can be perceived as inappropriate, and I certainly don’t mean to be inappropriate,” she said. “I mean to be thoughtful.”

Rayport also pointed out that she would be the only woman on the board. “I think we should have a woman on the Planning Board,” she said.

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